FAQ Directory: Physician and Hospital Quality Certification

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11.15.2012 Credit for Performance-Based Designation Programs as Quality measures Does use of Performance-Based Designation programs _ such as NCQA, BTE Recognition programs and Meaningful Use count as quality measures?

Yes, refer to Appendix 4: Performance-Based Designation Programs for the level of credit received for each program.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Must-Pass: PQ 1 Element A Is PHQ 1, Element A a must-pass element? If so, is the change permanent?

PHQ 1, Element A is a must-pass element at the 50 percent scoring level; this is a permanent change.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Following Standardized Measure Specifications Does a program have to use the most recent version of a measure to count it as a standardized measure in Element A?

Yes. The organization must follow the most current measure specifications from the measure steward, even if the NQF endorsement has not been updated.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Timing for Program Input In the Element B explanation under the head Feedback Timeframe requires the organization to seek feedback annually and Element C _ Program Impact requires the organization annually asses the program. Does the organization have to carry out these activities annually if its measurement cycle is every two years?

No. An organization that measures its physicians every two years can meet the requirement by seeking feedback and assessing the program every two years.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Noncompliant patients and physician ratings Has NCQA made recommendations or looked at the effect of noncompliant patients on physician ratings?

Although patient factors such as noncompliance may affect measure performance rates, an integral role of the physician is to work continuously with patients to educate them on the importance of a specific process or meeting a specific target/goal.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Defining "Taking Action" Is there a new definition of taking action in the 2013 PHQ Standards?

Yes. In prior versions of PHQ, NCQA required organizations to include all programs that met the definition of taking action in the survey, NCQA had a narrower definition. Because under PHQ 2013 organization chooses which programs to include or exclude in a PHQ survey, NCQA has broadened the definition so that if it chooses, an organization may opt to have programs certified that may not have been required under the prior PHQ.

For PHQ 2013, NCQA has defined taking action as: 1) Publicly reporting performance on quality or cost, resource use or utilization; 2) Using performance on quality or cost, resource-use or utilization measures as a basis for network design (such as tiering) or benefit design; 3) Using performance on quality or cost, resource-use or utilization measures to allocate rewards under a systematic, pay-for-performance program; 4) Reporting performance on quality, cost, resource use or utilization to physicians to support referral decisions.

If an organization is interested in certification for a program that includes actions not include an action defined above, it should contact NCQA to determine eligibility.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Board certification and physician quality Will NCQA accept board certification, maintenance of certification and NCQA Recognition as markers of physician quality, or must there also be measurement of NQF markers?

Board certification alone does not count as a quality measure. The organization may take action based on physician completion of an ABMS or AOA board performance-based improvement module (generally, in conjunction with maintenance of certification) at least every two years. These activities may be used as a quality measurement activity to meet PQ 1 Element A. Under certain circumstances, the organization may use measures from other national or regional performance-based designation programs to satisfy some or all requirements for PQ 1, Element A. The organization must discuss this in advance with NCQA to determine if the designation program meets the criteria.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Board Certification Does Board Certification status count as a quality measure?

No, Board Certification status alone does not count as a quality measure.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Certification for information providers May an information provider earn certification for the pieces it provides (e.g., standards, methodology, underlying data), while its customer (i.e., health plan that publishes the information) pursues other pieces (e.g., member communication and complaints, physician communication)?

No. PHQ consists of the specified certification options: Physician Quality (PQ), Hospital Quality (HQ), or both. Contact phq@ncqa.org to discuss your situation so we can consider additional survey options to meet market needs.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Working with Physicians Our organization posts the results of our physician measurement program on our directory on January 1 and any tiered networks or differential benefits are effective that same date. We make the results available to members by request (e.g. the member can call an 800 number to ask about a physicians status in the tiered network) on December 1. Which date _ January 1 or December 1 _ does NCQA consider the action date for the purposes of calculating whether we notify physicians 45 days ahead of action and resolve requests for corrections or changes before taking action?

If information is available to the public–even if it is only available by request–NCQA considers this to be public reporting. Therefore, in this scenario the taking action date is December 1.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Standardized Measure Specifications For Element A, if the organizations correction process allows elimination of non-compliant patients from the measure result at the request of the physician, even when those patients are in the standardized measure specification, is the measure still considered to be standardized?

No. To meet the definition of a standardized measure, the organization must follow the measure speciation exactly, including all numerator and denominator inclusions and exclusions.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Definition of a Program How does NCQA define a program?

The definition of a program is clearly defined in Section 1 of the Policies and Procedures. A physician measurement program includes: 1) A defined group of physicians– the definition must include both physician type (e.g. specialty) and geographic area covered; 2) A defined set of clinical quality, service or patient experience measures– the program may also include a defined set of cost, resource use or utilization measures; 3) A defined methodology for producing measure results; 4) A specific action taken at a specific point in time based on the measure results.

A hospital transparency program includes: 1) A defined group of hospitals– the definition must include both hospital type and location; 2) A defined set of all-payer quality or cost measures whose results are publicly reported at a specific point in time.

Distinct programs are reviewed separately and a certification decision is issued for each. Physician measurement programs and hospital transparency programs are always distinct programs, even when operated by the same legal entity. NCQA reserves the right to determine that programs that are managed in a decentralized manner constitute distinct programs for review.

To the extent that one program is a derivative of another and share common aspects (e.g., an organization uses the same measures and methodology for a single defined physician group but takes two actions [reporting and network tiering]) and the organization seeks verification for both at the same time, NCQA can review common aspects once to streamline the survey process, although these are distinct programs.

PHQ 2013